March 15, 2010

encouragement just when it's needed

i'd hit the wall but didn't know it at the time. all i could think was that my writing completely and utterly sucked. it was all crap, every last word. that's usually what i say about my first drafts, but this was the second draft, the draft that's supposed to be better, less lousy, more brilliant. i was at the point of sending it to novel purgatory.

and then this card came in the mail. yes, an actual card. not an email. not a message or wall post on facebook. a real card with postage.

several weeks ago, at the request of a young man who loves my novel, i'd sent a signed copy of Eldala to a teen girl in the Midwest. i certainly wasn't expecting to hear from her, but she took the time to write a few words of appreciation. i cried when i read it. she'd said just what i needed to hear.

i made a card and wrote back (responding with email just didn't seem right). i thanked her for her encouraging words and said i'd keep her card close for the next time i felt like i wanted to delete every last word. then i asked if she would let me anonymously share what she said. her answer: If there's a possibility that it may encourage others, it would only be right.

so, with her permission, let me share some of what she wrote...

I can really relate to Jessara. You signed my book "Courage for whatever journey you're on." Jessara helped to give me that courage... As I get older and take on more responsibilities of life I become afraid and unsure about whether or not I can handle it. When Jessara accepted her responsibility as Malazia, and eventually became queen, I found a new courage and understood that "...the only one that underestimates my importance is me."

Thank you for sharing Teleria with me. Thank you for the courage.

and once again, thank you for letting me know.

i almost forgot! this isn't the first time this has happened to me. back when i first released my baby Eldala for public scrutiny, someone gave me a less than stellar unsolicited review and i was ready to walk away from writing. the next day, one of my dear friends called to tell me how much the book meant to her, and she listed all the things she'd written down from one chapter or another. i'll always treasure that conversation.

God seems to send those words of encouragement every time i have a "what the heck do i think i'm doing?" meltdown. i now have a "writing encouragement" folder in my email where i keep those gems. so to all of you who have encouraged me over the years, many thanks.


Christine Danek said...

How wonderful! The book is good I am up to chapter 8. I'm getting there slowly. I can't believe the world you created, the wonderful characters and all the names you came up with. It is making it a wonderful story. I can't wait to finish just to see what happens.
Be proud Michelle!

Christine H said...

Isn't it wonderful when something happens to validate our heartfelt efforts?

A couple of years ago I let a friend read the first draft of The Golden Gryphon and she said that one part really encouraged her as to her efforts on behalf of Girl Scouts, where the mentor character chastens the hero for his unwillingness to let the heroine take a risk for the group.

"Do you think, Captain, that just because Marenya is a (woman) that the desire for brave deeds doesn’t stir in her heart as well as yours? Many sacrifices pass unheeded and unhonored where women toil quietly day by day."

That's one of those things that I tend to hesitate about because they sound a bit corny, but it really spoke to her. It's actually been edited out of the latest version.But you just never know how God may use your words!

Michelle Gregory said...

Christine D. - thank you for your kind words. sometimes i still can't believe i wrote all that.

Christine H. - i added something at the end of the post about others who have encouraged me. i have to say you're one of them. many thanks, friend.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks so much for sharing your letter with us, Michelle. What a wonderful compliment and confidence booster. Nothing feels better than sincere (and unexpected) validation. :-)

Abby Annis said...

That's so awesome! So glad you're feeling better. :)

Christine H said...

Right back 'atcha, Michelle!

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

That is so awesome, I'm glad it came just when you needed it. And you are an awesome writer!

Michelle Gregory said...

Shannon - you're welcome and you're right - it does feel good.

Abby - i'm glad i'm feeling better about my writing too. let's see if it helps me get over the wall.

Sara - thank you for the compliment.

thewritelife2 said...

There will always be critics. I have had critics of my writing and people who absolutely loved my writing. Like someone told me, you take what is useful and throw the rest away. A critique is just another step from a perfect work. I'm still waiting for you sequal. I'm ready to buy it when it is out. :O)

Love, An Impatient Fan